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Sunday, April 3, 2022

Lee Smith hoped there was room for her; Went from assistant to independent GM to the NHL

The Fort Myers News Press charted the career of local Miracle's new assistant general manager Lee Smith from idealistic diplomat hopeful in college to Miami-area attorney to famed baseball promoter Mike Veeck's Miami Miracle.

She then put in her dues with the Miracle, doing everything needed of her, before winning her promotion for 1993 to become the Florida State League's highest ranking woman. 

"I love what I do," Smith told The News Press in April 1993. "I would hope there's room for me to grow and steps for me to climb. ... You have to believe there's a place for you and you can grow to and you can get there and move on."

Smith soon did move on. She soon became the top general manager of the independent Tyler Wildcatters in Texas. She then moved on to a different sport, hockey, working in promotions for the Dallas Stars.

But her career in sports began in 1990, with the Miami Miracle, credited on a group "Office Personnel" card as an administrative assistant. 

She was also credited under the name Leslie Smith, the name a report used in December 1992 to announce her appointment as Miracle assistant general manager. (And,  based on article photos, she appears to be the woman in the center.)

Smith caught on with the Miracle after quitting her job with a Miami law firm, and after repeated calls to Veeck, The News Press wrote

In her job as assistant general manager, Smith oversaw game-day operations, served as team attorney and had spring training role with the Twins and in promotions, according to a report in The Naples Daily News.

Smith spoke to The News Press later that year in 1993 about learning golf after she'd not been invited to an All-Star weekend golf outing. She then learned the basics from the Miracle's manager - in the team parking lot.

"I knew I needed to do this to progress in my job and get to know people," Smith told The News Press. "It gave me credibility to be able to meet these guys on their turf and at their game."

Smith then moved on to the general manager job in Tyler. She spoke to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram in August 1994 about her role with the team, to get people out to the ballpark and then to get them to come back.

"The best is when I'm in the grocery store and someone comes up and says, 'You're the baseball lady,'" Smith told The Star-Telegram.

Smith stayed in Tyler that one season. Soon, she moved on to the Stars and worked in promoting hockey and in in-game promotions. In 1999, the Stars won the Stanley Cup and Smith ran the victory parade and pep rally.

She moved on from there in 2002 to work in event management and then for the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,884
Made the Majors:1,296-33.4%
Never Made Majors:2,588-66.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:325

1 comment:

  1. Quite the story for this card. Thanks for sharing it.